A Science Odyssey Title 'A Science Odyssey: 100 Years of Discovery' Title

Publisher: William Morrow and Company, Inc.
Author: Charles Flowers with a foreword by Charles Osgood and an introduction by Charles Kuralt
ISBN: 0-688-15196-5
Price: $30.00
60 color and 90 black-and-white photographs
Publication Date: January 7, 1998

Press Release
Karen Auerbach

No other century has seen such an explosion of scientific discovery and technological progress as the twentieth century. From physics to astronomy, from biology to medicine, we know infinitely more about ourselves and the world we live in than we did in 1900. What have we gained from this flood of knowledge and invention, and what will science and technology produce in the next century?

In A Science Odyssey: 100 Years of Discovery (William Morrow, January 7, 1998, $30.00 hard cover) Charles Flowers takes a look not only at what we know, but at what this knowledge means to our daily lives and what we have yet to learn as we approach the millennium. Aimed at a general audience, the book is a companion to the 10-hour PBS television series hosted by Charles Osgood (running on five consecutive nights from January 11-15, 1998, 8-10pm) of the same name and is a thorough and fascinating overview of the scientific accomplishments of our century.

No previously published book about this phenomenal era of discovery and change combines such a wealth of research, illustrative material and storytelling. Like the television series, each chapter of A Science Odyssey explores a different area of science, introducing the significant people, events and discoveries that have shaped the past 100 years.

Flowers, an award-winning writer, sees the odyssey of science as "a journey taken by human beings," since behind every achievement is a man or woman or team who labored and struggled to solve some sort of scientific mystery. A Science Odyssey recounts the stories of such celebrated scientists as Albert Einstein, Marie Curie and the Leakeys, along with equally fascinating tales of lesser known heroes such as Dr. Joseph Goldberger, whose unconventional research and dogged persistence made possible the discovery of the dietary causes of pellagra; and Dr. Frederick Banting, whose "ignorance or naiveté" resulted in the discovery of insulin for the treatment of diabetes.

But Flowers warns that the odyssey of science can create disappointment as well as excitement and achievement: More efficient transportation can cause pollution; machines that bring us comfort and ease can also produce stress; advances in genetic engineering can be misused. He explores the moral and ethical debates that arise when science's relentless advance presents disturbing new interrelationships between what we know and what we can handle wisely.

Some 150 color and b&w photos illustrate A Science Odyssey, including archival portraits of major scientists and inventors, electron micrographs of deadly viruses on the attack or human cells in the act of replicating themselves, computer-enhanced images of celestial events several billion light-years away in deep space, and recent state-of-the-art shots of dramatic vistas from geological events around the globe.

A Science Odyssey is a compellingly dramatic and richly informative compendium of scientific knowledge -- a must-read for the uninitiated and the science-savvy alike. For only by reflecting on the successes and failures of our past can we become better equipped to deal with the unpredictable discoveries of our future.

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